Crypto owners, take note: whoever has your crypto wallet seed phrase can access and spend or sell all of your unique digital assets – think Bitcoin, Ethereum, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). And if you forget or lose your seed phrase, it’s unrecoverable by design.
Need a crypto-security refresher? Crypto wallets are secured by a seed phrase, a crypto-specific string of 12 to 24 randomly generated words. (This differs from an optional wallet PIN or passphrase, which add additional layers of security.)
The key here is finding a way to store your seed phrase without exposing it to security risks. Here, we’ll explain why offline storage is best – and how a cloud-based vault can help you securely track your storage location.
Record your wallet seed phrase offline
If you store your passwords in a digital text file or a password manager, shouldn’t you do the same with your seed phrase?
Your crypto seed phrase is a kind of master key to your crypto wallet. To prevent unwanted access to your digital assets, take every precaution possible to protect it. That includes safeguarding against digital security concerns like malware, phishing, and data breaches at your digital storage provider.
Here’s the reality: no matter how robust your digital storage option is, it could still expose your seed phrase to cybersecurity threats. The most secure way to avoid these risks is to store your wallet seed phrase offline. To do so, write it on paper or engrave it in steel.
If you choose to write your seed phrase on paper, understand that paper and ink can deteriorate over time. And before that happens, you could lose your paper to fire damage or water damage.
Something as simple as forgetting your paper’s location can have disastrous consequences. One crypto owner made a makeshift bitcoin wallet out of an encrypted USB drive. But he lost the password for that drive – and with it, his access to what was worth more than $270 million, as of mid-March 2022.
Although more expensive, a steel-based approach to capturing a seed phrase is more secure overall. Steel is more fire- and water-resistant than paper. Some manufacturers provide seals to make tamper-evident steel recording options. In fact, there’s an entire industry for steel seed phrase recording – the Cryptosteel brand is one example.
Once you’ve selected your storage option, strengthen your security by dividing your recorded seed phrase among multiple pieces of paper or steel. This way, losing one piece won’t compromise the entire seed phrase.
Protect your recorded seed phrase in a secure safe
Although they’re more secure than digital alternatives, paper and steel come with their own security concerns. To mitigate those risks, store your recorded crypto seed phrase in a secure safe.
Why use a safe? To start, they’re often fireproof and waterproof. If your home floods or catches fire, a drawer, floorboard, or book sleeve won’t do much to protect your recorded seed phrase.
Another reason to use a safe: they tend to be made of thick, high-grade steel. That makes them less portable than, say, a fire-safe box. Thick steel makes cutting through safes difficult. And with locking mechanisms that range from combination locks to biometrics, you can customize your safe’s security tech to suit your needs.
Even with its benefits, a safe might seem too conspicuous for your recorded seed phrase storage. As a workaround, try installing one in a nondescript location on your property. Ward off prying eyes by securing your safe in an old moving box, within a wall, or even underground.
If you’ve split your recorded seed phrase, store the pieces in multiple safes – and consider placing your safes in multiple locations for additional security.
Store your crypto seed phrase location in a cloud-based vault
Your work isn’t over once you’ve locked your recorded crypto seed phrase in one or multiple safes. What happens if you forget where you’ve put them? And in an emergency, how will your loved ones find your seed phrase – or even know that you own crypto or NFTs?
To cover all your bases, use a tool that lets you track and recover your seed phrase storage location. A cloud-based vault like Prisidio can help you do that without exposing the seed phrase itself.
With Prisidio, you get the best of both worlds: hacker-proof offline seed phrase storage and digital storage location recovery. You’ll really appreciate location recovery if you’ve stored your recorded seed phrase in multiple safes.
Prisidio’s cloud-based vault allows you to:
- Record that you have crypto or NFTs.
- Identify where your seed phrase is located, online or offline.
- Note the storage medium of your recorded seed phrase – and the number of parts, if you’ve divided it.
- Store geotagged photos of your recorded seed phrase’s location(s).
- Protect your wallet seed phrase’s storage info with multi-factor authentication.
With a secure mobile app, Prisidio makes it convenient for you to access the details of your recorded seed phrase from the cloud. And selective share settings allow you to share those details with a trusted person, whether today, tomorrow or in case of emergency.